Kia reveals new clutch-by-wire manual gearbox for 48-volt mild hybrids

New manual Kia gearbox removes mechanical clutch for greater efficiency and CO2 reductions

Kia has revealed a new manual gearbox using an electronic linkage for the clutch, rather than a mechanical system, which has been designed for use in the brand’s next fleet of 48-volt mid hybrid cars. 

The system, called intelligent manual transmission (iMT), promises to cut CO2 emissions and boost fuel economy, while the company claims it retains a natural, mechanical clutch pedal feel.

The iMT works alongside the belt driven starter-generator integrated into the powertrain as part of the 48-volt mild hybrid system. Using a system like it means that the stop-start system can cut in to switch the engine off at higher speeds, allowing for longer periods of engineless coasting. 

The chosen gear remains engaged and the clutch opens even with the engine off, so the engine can restart seamlessly in drive when the driver touches the accelerator pedal at the end of a coasting period. The 48-volt system can bring the engine speed instantly back to the correct revs, but if the car has slowed too much and engine speed is too low to resume in the same gear, it can restart the engine in neutral - something it also does if the clutch pedal is pressed.

Kia says the iMT possesses the same operation feel and engagement as a traditional mechanical gearbox, and even has greater controllability of the clutch’s biting point thanks to electrical management. 

The iMT is being launched on Kia models with the new ‘Smartstream’ 48-volt mild hybrid powertrains. The first car to get it will be the latest Ceed in 1.6 CRDi diesel mild hybrid form. It’s also coming to the newly facelifted Rio in 1.0-litre T-GDi petrol form, with more models to receive the iMT transmission later in 2020. 

Do you think Kia's new manual gearbox is a good idea? Let us know your thoughts below...

Recommended

Kia gears up to launch seven new electric cars by 2027
Kia's EV future 1
Kia

Kia gears up to launch seven new electric cars by 2027

Kia has sparked its aspirational brand restructure, which will see the firm focus more heavily on electric cars and sustainable motoring
15 Jan 2021
New Kia logo revealed as part of aspirational rebranding
Kia

New Kia logo revealed as part of aspirational rebranding

New corporate look for Kia as it enters new era with a heavy focus on electric cars
6 Jan 2021
Hyundai Motor Group details dedicated electric car platform
Hyundai

Hyundai Motor Group details dedicated electric car platform

Hyundai has released a detailed specification for its new E-GMP architecture, which will underpin 23 new electric cars by 2025
2 Dec 2020
New flagship Kia electric coupe-SUV spotted ahead of 2021 launch
Kia

New flagship Kia electric coupe-SUV spotted ahead of 2021 launch

Kia's electric coupe-SUV with ambitions of taking on the Porsche Taycan for tech has been spied for the first time
28 Jul 2020

Most Popular

UK’s most stolen cars revealed
Most stolen car
Ford Fiesta

UK’s most stolen cars revealed

DVLA data reveals which cars were most commonly stolen in 2020, with the Ford Fiesta topping the list
26 Jan 2021
Revised Mazda CX-5 crossover launched for 2021
Mazda CX-5 2021
Mazda CX-5

Revised Mazda CX-5 crossover launched for 2021

The updated Mazda CX-5 gets a larger displacement version of the brand’s SkyActiv-G petrol engine and a fresh infotainment system
26 Jan 2021
New Lotus ‘Type 131’ due in 2021 as Elise, Exige and Evora bow out
Lotus range
Lotus

New Lotus ‘Type 131’ due in 2021 as Elise, Exige and Evora bow out

A new look Lotus line-up is teased with heavy influence from Evija hypercar expected
24 Jan 2021